ISSN: 1550-7521

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Research Article Open Access

Facebook as a Safe Sphere: The Influence of Facebook Intergroup Communication on Reducing Islamophobia in the United States

Abstract

Through an online survey of non-Muslim Facebook users in the United States (N=415), intergroup contact theory was used to examine the negative correlation between Facebook intergroup contact variables: Number of Muslim Facebook friends, number of non-Muslim friends who have Muslim friends on Facebook (extended contact), and frequency of Facebook intergroup activities (direct communication, passive communication, and broadcasting) and Islamophobia. Contact theory and hyperpersonal model of CMC were used to examine the influence of interpersonal communication with a Muslim on Facebook (N=250) as a moderator (low, average, and high attraction toward a Muslim) in intergroup contact effects. Results showed all Facebook intergroup contact variables have significant negative correlations with Islamophobia. Of Facebook intergroup activities, only passive communication predicts reduced Islamophobia. The study also found interpersonal attraction on Facebook moderates the negative relation between Facebook intergroup activities direct and passive communications, but not broadcasting and Islamophobia.

Maisoon Osama Alsebaei

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